How to Support Your Favorite Writer

How to Support Your Favorite Writer

What can you do to support your favorite creator? Buy their books, sure, but that’s just one possibility among many others. Don’t get me wrong. I need to sell books, and I’m forever thankful to everyone who picks up one of my titles. But I also need to spread the word about my work to people who aren’t familiar. I need to know that readers are enjoying the work I’m creating. And I’m willing to bet that most other creators feel the same.

So, I wanted to put together a few options for how you can support your favorite creators. (As I write this, I’ll probably say “writer” quite a bit. I am, after all, a writer and I’m putting this together from my own experience. But I’m talking about creators in general, even if I seem to be forgetting others.)

And, hey, while buying books is a huge deal, I understand that times are tough all over. For everyone. For some folks, spending money on a lot of books right now just isn’t an option. So, most of the suggestions below don’t require any financial commitment at all.

Here are a few options:

Buy some books. Of course, this is one of the best ways to support a writer. Buy their books! In my case, that might mean single issues, trade paperbacks, digital copies—whatever. But them from comic shops, bookstores, online retailers, or even creator websites (like The Shock Shop). Those purchases make a huge difference. In many cases (hopefully most), sales lead to royalties, which are a huge deal. Even in those cases when royalties aren’t on the table, sales add up. When a publisher sees healthy sales, they’re open to doing more books with a writer and possibly making better deals.

Pre-order books. This goes hand-in-hand with buying books. In the world of comics, pre-orders are vital. They help the writer, the comic book stores, and the publishers. When you head into your local comic book store and let your retailer know that you want to pre-order a title, you offer them a sense of comfort with the title. Oftentimes, when a retailer orders for a particular customer, they will order extra copies for the shelves.

Give their books as gifts. When a holiday or birthday rolls around, give your friends and loved ones copies of books you loved. You can make a new lifelong fan!

Read and review. If you've already bought their books, take the time to read them. Personally, I write with the idea that someone is going to read the work. If you've read a book by your favorite writer that you enjoyed, leave a review on Amazon (or Goodreads). This helps other readers find their work and decide if it's something they want to read. On Amazon, titles with lots of reviews tend to do a lot better, sales-wise.

Support their Patreon. Many writers use crowdfunding platforms like Patreon (or Ko-fi) to raise money from their fans. By supporting them, you'll be helping them cover the costs of their writing, such as equipment, software, and travel. Make no mistake, there have been months when the only thing that has helped me pay my utility bill has been funds from my Patreon. I try to offer plenty of value there, my support levels are pretty low in terms of monthly rates, and I enjoy using it as a place to communicate with fans.

Support their crowdfunding projects. Crowdfunding is becoming more and more prevalent these days. I’ve run several myself. Throwing support at these projects can help creators produce material that you might not see at all otherwise.

Sign up for their email list. Email newsletters are seeing a resurgence, and some of them are truly spectacular. Writing my own email newsletter (Vicious Shivers) is something I look forward to every week! It’s free… and it’s another terrific way to stay “in the know” when it comes to my work and my life. And it’s a great place to communicate with me.

Follow them on social media. I use social media to connect with readers. Following and interacting with me on social media helps you stay up-to-date on what’s going on with my writing and it helps me realize I’m not alone in the world. Admittedly, my social media activity has been greatly reduced in recent months, but I’m still out there!

Join their Discord servers. Many creators have set up Discord servers. I like to think of them as online mini-convention spaces where you can interact with creators as well as other fans of their work. I’ve set a Discord server up and have a good start of members. Still working out some bugs here and there, but I definitely think it has potential! 

Comment on their posts. See a tweet or a Facebook post or a blog entry that you liked? Leave a comment. Keep the conversation going! Building a community is a worthwhile effort.

Attend their events. If you find that one of your favorite creators is going to be at a convention, reading, or store signing near you, make plans to attend. Get some books signed! Buy some books from them! Just say hello! It absolutely means a lot!

Share their work. Tell your friends, family, and bitter enemies about the work of creators you love! Post about the work on social media! Tell other customers in comic shops! Tell your retailers! Suggest their work for coverage by your favorite media outlet! Word-of-mouth can be majorly impactful for creators!

Request their books at your library. Following up on the previous point, but letting your librarian know of cool new books they should order benefits the readers, the libraries, and the creators.

Reach out and say hello. Sometimes, just sending a quick message on social media or sending an email can really help brighten a creator’s day. I’ve definitely had bleak days that have been salvaged by a kind message. You’d be surprised how much it can help.

In the end, almost anything you can do to help spread the word about a creator’s work can be a big help. And creators love to hear from the people who like what they’re doing. Your support—in whatever form it takes—means a great deal.

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